Revitalization of Rhopography in the Oil Paintings of PJ Mills

Watermelon and Christmas lights, oil painting on canvas, 51 x 64, PJ Mills


The oil paintings of Miami, Florida based artist PJ Mills present everyday objects such as a toy, spiritual items, food, and personal possessions of the artist, all realistically rendered in still life scenes.  The artwork objects may be contextually placed in a still life setting or within more ambiguous spaces. At first glance this subject matter may seem to have little importance— yet these paintings make viewers take another look at these ordinary items perhaps previously taken for granted. As the artist PJ Mills says,” These paintings focus on those personal possessions that I find curiously engaging.”  And we agree–there is a substantial presence in each of these images. Some of the canvases are as large as 51 x 64 inches and as small as 12 x 12 inches, with each study holding its own as an artwork.

Paper Crane, oil painting on canvas, 48 x 48, PJ Mills


Steak, oil painting on canvas, 18 x 18, PJ Mills


PJ Mills is art historically connected to the practice of painters of the past in that his painterly examination may represent or symbolize the artist’s ideas or the items may have metaphorical implications. Still life painting of such common everyday objects is often referred to art historically as “rhopography.”  According to The English Oxford Dictionary  the art historical definition of rhopography, is a depiction of subject matter considered insignificant or trivial, as still life, the domestic interior, animals, insects and the like.


Rabbit’s Foot and Communion Hosts, oil painting on canvas, 48 x 48, PJ Mills


Pinned Beetle, oil painting on canvas, 12 x 12 inches, PJ Mills


PJ Mills subjects of interest for his paintings may include the contemporary, such as Polaroid photos, as well as objects present through time such as things that maintain religious or supernatural characteristics– divining rods, masks, or spiritual fetish articles. The artist is also very aware of how a simple juxtaposition of two or more objects will express far more complex meanings.   The juxtaposition of objects arranged by visual artists is similar to how many poets lay down verse. It is not the words per se that contain the power, but the unknown image that arises from what was created by the juxtaposition. Defined as the “imago ignota,” it is the combination of words which elevate them beyond the language of the obvious. “I contend that this holds true for images, as well,” says the artist.


Polaroids, oil painting on canvas, 48 x 48, PJ Mills


“In the last few years,” says PJ Mills, ” I have started to isolate and focus on personal effects that relate specifically to personal consumption and identity. A woman’s compact may be an aid for the adjustment of lipstick but also holds the secrets of her self-absorption snapped shut in the tidy compartment of her purse. Risque and subjective photographs (Polaroids) may be titillating, they are also quite personal and speak of privacy as well. Jewel like insects, the tiny treasures of boyhood fascination or even the food we eat raise questions of adult obsession with consumerism. Issues of identity and consumerism all stem directly and indirectly from strange as well as obvious places in our lives. These visual investigations of isolated objects and/or juxtapositions of personal effects, represent the seemingly obvious. But also the often enigmatic, and yet always metaphorically pregnant meanings.”


Clown & Thorns, oil painting on canvas, 51 x 64, PJ Mills


“My approach to painting is highly personal and intuitive. During the creative process I try to think as little as possible about this work and let the subjects surface from my subconscious. The result is quite suggestive by its contents and symbolically loaded with historical references. This material develops from entirely personal experiences and through obsessions I have with objects and my musing regarding the human condition as it relates to identity issues. The personal subjectivity of this work is not a grand philosophical statement. It is instead more closely related to a genre sensibility characteristic of the mundane used as metaphors for larger ideas.”


Monster, oil painting on canvas, 48 x 48, PJ Mills


“Common Still life painting that was popular in the 17th century Dutch and Flemish often contained hidden allegories such as the Christian Passion, Resurrection or the transience of things in life. They were little paintings with big ideas. The paintings during this time that concerned themselves with life, death and transient events between were often referred to as “Vanitas” paintings. Not in the sense of vainness or conceit; “Vanitas” often a latin term used to describe a notion of evanescence of earthly possessions and the life linked to the work. The meanings in these paintings were conveyed by the use of objects, mostly familiar and everyday items and were given a symbolic connotation. My paintings are similar in the sense that they isolate a particular object or group of objects containing a history of symbolic references. Within the body of my work, historical reference and symbolic references are typically ignored and the object is valued for purely personal reasons. The result often has an element of cognitive dissonance if not absurdity to the reasons behind its selection. I find the confusion intriguing.”

Then the brilliant artist PJ Mills simply sums up his work by stating– “I depart from seventeenth century concepts and slip in contemporary wackiness.”


Captive Bolt Pistol & Toy, oil painting, 48 x 48, PJ Mills


PJ Mills received his MFA degree in painting from Cornell University and has exhibited in numerous US art galleries. You can view more paintings on the artist’s website here.

Follow the artist PJ Mills on Instagram here.

Visit PJ Mills’ Facebook page here.


Wishbone, oil painting on canvas, 12 x 12, PJ Mills

Video: UK Painter Martin Finnin At Work in His Studio

I want to share this video interview of a UK artist. I love his angst-free descriptions of his painting process and love of the light in his studio, simplifying the complex process of painting into something pleasant and interesting.

Applause Please–the Skillful Balancing Act in the Paintings of Texas Artist J.R. Smith

Applause Please, J.R. Smith

Applause Please, J.R. Smith

View images of J.R. Smith’s paintings above and below and in our sidebar gallery and you will notice that the painter creates a balance in each work that makes it all look so easy. Yet notice again how skillfully the artist incorporates a wide variety of subject matter into each composition in a balancing act that may include animal life, landscapes and plant life, human subjects, architectural features, and still life objects, as well as text and abstract elements.

What garden--me? J.R. Smith

What garden–me? J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith has completed numerous commissions on both interior walls and exterior walls of buildings in several Texas and New Mexico towns. National and international art collectors purchase watercolor paintings and painted canvases and panels from the versatile and prolific artist.

o6 Wall, J.R. Smith

06 Wall, J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith says, ” I would like to reach designers that are decorating lobbies, entryways and restaurants, etc. I’m getting more calls for mural panels or themed type series that are appropriate for their venue. “
The artist recently completed a series of Cinco de Mayo paintings of dancers and musicians in his characteristic *feel good* style.  There were some delays, according to the artist who stated that, “restoring the sign on the west End of the Wool & Mohair building (in Alpine ,Texas ) slowed the completion of the Cinco de Mayo series but the paintings are now hanging in Los Jalapenos Restaurant on Murphy Street. The Murphy Street weekend festivities will kick off with a reception for the show on Thursday the 29th, August (5:00 – 7:00 PM) at Los Jalapenos.”
If you are interested in commissioning a painting or mural by “Feel Good Artist” J. R. Smith, you may contact him via his website

Sculpture and Paintings of Italian Artist Tony Cassisi

Sculptor and painter Tony Cassisi creates his sculptural works in wood and other materials.

Strip, wood sculpture, Tony Cassisis

Strip, wood sculpture, Tony Cassisi

Exile from Eden (view 2), sculpture, Tony Cassisi

Exile from Eden (view 2), sculpture, Tony Cassisi

Exile from Eden, sculpture, Tony Cassisi

Exile from Eden, sculpture, Tony Cassisi

Boys, bas-relief, Tony Cassisi

Boys, bas-relief, Tony Cassisi

On the artist’s website, there are images of 47 bas-relief artworks of people, as well as many creations of birds and other subjects.

You will find dozens of beautiful oil paintings of people and the Italian landscape on the artist’s website. These paintings Tony Cassisi called Metalgraphs, his own unique mentor of paintings with oil paints on metalized boards. The backgrounds of these paintings the artist has painted with metallic colors, while foregrounds he has painted with oil colors.

Shepherds Under a Porch, painting by Tony Cassisi

Shepherds Under a Porch, painting by Tony Cassisi

Lava, painting by Tony Cassisi

Lava, painting by Tony Cassisi

Herdsman at sunset, painting incorporating found materials, Tony Cassisi

Herdsman at sunset, painting incorporating found materials, Tony Cassisi

Sorrowful Mother, pyrography, Tony Cassisi

Sorrowful Mother, pyrography, Tony Cassisi

Visit the artist’s website to view many more artworks: www.tony

Figurative Encaustic Master Class Correspondence Course

                                                 Encaustic portrait by Richard Young

Artist Richard Young’s Encaustic Master Class

If you are currently an abstract artist (or any other style) and want to learn figurative encaustic, Richard Young can get you started by creating a preliminary sketch on the encaustic substrate and shipping it to you. This will be a daily correspondence course at your convenience. One doesn’t have to be at one’s computer at any particular time. Over the 4 weeks, Richard says, “I’ll leave no stone unturned in the figurative encaustic process.” Basically there will be 3 parts: Setting up a foundation and being able to maintain accuracy throughout the process, building on the foundation and meditation on creativity and technique, and thirdly, finishing touches and knowing “when” the final brush stroke is made. All of this with detailed photos, videos and detailed in-depth instruction is $500 for a 4 week class. $1000 for a 4 month master class. For more details please email me, Richard Young, at  
In the Fullness of Time, Encaustic painting, Richard Young

In the Fullness of Time, Encaustic painting, Richard Young

Pale Horse, Encaustic painting by

Pale Horse, Encaustic painting by Richard Young

Oil Paintings by Artist Maria Gibbs Depict Moments From Everyday Life

Hens and Chicks, oil painting by Maria Gibbs

Hens and Chicks, oil painting by Maria Gibbs

Maria Gibbs paints to fulfill her passion for the world around her. She loves the artistic process and the act of painting in oils in her studio. She follows her creative inner voice producing stunning images of subjects that include flowers, succulents, landscapes, and people dancing. Her use of vivid colors bring the paintings to life and her combined brush and palette knife work result in remarkable and subtle nuances in texture. Maria works her large floral images in two series–the first, stylized in nature with much romantic appeal, and the second, near photo-realism. She is excited to share these paintings with you in the galleries on her website

Bloomin' Red, oil painting by Maria Gibbs

Bloomin’ Red, oil painting by Maria Gibbs

To purchase one of our original paintings or hand-embellished limited edition prints, visit her website

Jane Robinson, Abstract Painter

“Inspired by early jazz music and influenced by the abstract movement of the fifties, my artwork reflects the movement, rhythm, instruments and ‘colour’ of the music and art.”  Jane Robinson is an accomplish contemporary, abstract painter whose work has been sold globally to collectors, Universities and businesses.  Jane also teaches workshops in abstract painting and writes a blog about discovering your unique creativity, Art


View more paintings on Jane Robinson’s Website:

New Oil Painting in Our Amazon Store

“This my impression of a view from the side of my house.  We live in the woods and love every minute of it.”  says painter Terry L Zarate of her oil painting simply titled Branches.

This 24 x 36 inch oil painting on canvas, retails for $960.00 (plus shipping), is available for online purchase on

Branches, oil painting on canvas,24 X 36 inches, Terry L Zarate

Art Wall International Contemporary Art Magazine: New Issue

New issue from artwall magazine – amazing british artist Tony South 
(and including our Artist Marketing Resources one page ad!)
Marketing information and media pack write to
To buy the printed copy go to
Tony South issue n46
36 pages, published 13 APR 2012
British artist Tony South, figurative painter
Find out more on MagCloud

The Word Portrait Project

The word portrait project is part private commission, part performance piece. Artist Derrick Hickman works in collaboration with clients to bring their personal stories to life in the form of enlarged colorful text abstractions. The art is both exposing and cryptic. Viewers are drawn into the paintings by their size and appealing palette while at the same time being held back by the confusion of twisted letters and color patterns.

The client provides a written story that is meaningful and revealing and then Derrick Hickman creates a visual re-telling of their story. The abstraction of line, editing of content and selection of color patterns are meant to mimic the relationship of story teller and audience. The inability to control meaning and interpretation as your story gets told and re-told. Clients are able to commission their portrait in three different sizes through the word portrait project website. Commissions typically can be completed and shipped within four weeks. More information can be found at

Painter, Jeanne Bessette: Art Sales After December 25th

Many artists’ sales strategy may be to beef up sales and promotions beginning in November and then cut back on those efforts after December 25th. But between the Christmas and New Year holidays this year, Jeanne Bessette sold three paintings to visitors to her personal artist’s website (

Jeanne has a motto– ” Say yes to everything.”  She is open to everything, and that is key!  Two days after New Years day Jeanne received a commission for a 4×4 painting. Her new client had viewed the artist’s very small painting donated to charity fundraiser.
“It’s about networking and building relationships…and because of this motto, (Say yes to everything), I have sold many paintings from connections that I simply did not expect,” Jeanne explained.
Making sales in unexpected ways has happened for her on both the Facebook and LinkedIN social media sites. One buyer read a post on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, followed links and ended up on Jeanne’s site. Once there he fell in love with one of her paintings! He lived nearby, so called the phone number on her website. This led to a studio visit where he made a cash purchase of a nine hundred-dollar painting.

Another art sale came about from a comment Jeanne made in a discussion on LinkedIN.  The buyer checked Jeanne’s LinkedIN profile and followed her link to her site. He liked her art work and called, again from the phone number on her website. The buyer was redecorating his new home with his wife. He was interested in three paintings but bought two because his wife also liked another artist’s work. “He will probably return for more,” Jeanne stated confidently. 

Yet another sale same about recently when a buyer,  who had seen a painting of Jeanne’s in the home of friend,  sent Jeanne an email when she returned home. A conversation developed that led to a sale of a painting.
Artists, Say YES to everything in 2011!

About this blog, about me…

I am an artist and I started this blog in February 2009 with the idea of gathering resources here for artist’s growth.

I was born in the USA and I am an artist working with the possibilities of paint layers and poured paints on my supports of canvas, panel and papers– such layering, poured painting, and stain painting is also know as Process Painting. The formal possibilities of my use of color layers and tones, variety of paints and the resulting surface texture are achieved by varying the paint flow, paint run overlaps, and by creating flow interference, splash and splatter. I have an interest in the possibilities of both maintaining and breaking the hard edge. Close-up gives the vantage point of the pleasure of the painterly poured paint run intermingled with elements of patterning and the finer details of applied image transfers and Asemic writing built up on my support in a dense bricolage. Asemic writing consists of language-like marks unreadable as writing so as to straddle the line between the visual and the textual. My Asemic writing is informed by my formal language studies of Mandarin Chinese at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, and language studies at private language schools in Tokyo, Japan and in India. My stronger American influences on my Asemic writing reference everyday product package lettering past and present. My high contrast mixed use of Day-Glo to earth color compositions are responses to Asian and American use of color from ancient to recent Pop aesthetics. Color influences of Japan, India and China and the forms of the written characters of the languages of those countries, as well as those elements in other Asian countries I visited–Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea–reemerge in newly abstracted and combined forms. Translucent and transparent  overlays of color contain the opacity of the drawn stroke.  In some of my paintings I work with my collection of large handmade Chinese calligraphy brushes. I abstract written language characters, cut up, juxtapose, and layer fragmented language signs together visually,–sometimes over, sometimes under poured paint, or sandwiched between the layers of my surfaces. In the image transfer elements of my paintings, I incorporate my own drawings photographically reproduced and printed on paper multiple times. Incorporating too, images from my camera–including outdoor night photography shots, and vintage b & w films I shoot capturing both the individual film frames and the overlapped combined images within frame transitions for use as image transfers. I also collect “found images” and have used images in my paintings that I’ve held on to for 7-8 or more years, printed to paper and used  as acrylic image transfers on my supports. Subject matter for my image transfers tend to center around vintage film, holiday and other social symbols and iconography, and commercial product packaging. My daily painting practice yields surprisingly varied results per canvas or composition within the repetition of these techniques and recurring interests of form. Each painting contains traces of what is significant to me, the artist, –my personal progress, growth, shifts, changes, expansions, forward motion, accumulation of thought and work, day upon day, contained within the layers of my paintings, as form, color and texture merge in the spirituality of my abstract painting practice that proceeds from the context of ideas, beliefs and emotions.

Support this blog by supporting my project:

Now until Oct 4th get in on my artist project for rewarding experiences:

Link to My kickstarter project–

Support my Kickstarter project by contributing $1. or more

or Sharing my Kickstarter link on Twitter or Facebook…

Best wishes for a productive day!

Marie Kazalia